Philly Healthy Schools Initiative

In May 2017, the Law Center joined a coalition that includes many of the city’s largest labor unions including the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), AFL-CIO, AFSCME districts 33 and 47, and Teamsters Local 502, representing the city’s public school principals, as well as parent organizations such as the Friends of Neighborhood Education (FONE) and Parents United, and environmental health groups like Penn Environment and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The Philly Healthy Schools Coalition calls on the School District and Philadelphia City Council to immediately implement the following policies:

  • Improve the Public’s Right to Know by requiring greater information and data transparency about environmental health threats from the School District of Philadelphia to parents, teachers, and community members. District officials have thousands of Indoor Environmental Quality reports, site inspections and other environmental health-related data that is not easily available, or even known, to the public.
  • Establish “Adequate Building Conditions” that will set minimally acceptable environmental health standards that should be met by every school building in Philadelphia and Best Practices Standards to significantly improve school conditions.
  • Identify and address the most critical environmental health threats in our schools—and develop an action plan to remediate them in the fastest ways possible.
  • Develop a districtwide “Comprehensive Educational Facilities Master Plan” (CEFMP). While most large school districts across the country have a Facilities Master Plan to prioritize and ensure schools are healthy and safe, no such plan exists for the School District of Philadelphia.
  • Create an official Educational Facilities Environmental Health Task Force comprised of parents, teachers, unions, public and private advocates and other community stakeholders that can provide input and recommendations to the School District and help develop the CEFMP.
  • Advocate for Increased funding to finance these and other critical initiatives to address environmental health risks in our school buildings.

Project Updates

May 2017
Labor Unions, Parent Groups, and Health Experts Join Philly Council Members to Announce Citywide Coalition to Tackle Environmental Health Threats in Public Schools

Staff on the Case
Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg